Madagascan plated lizard

Zonosaurus madagascariensis

SUBFAMILY

Gerrhosaurinae

TAXONOMY

Zonosaurus madagascariensis Gray, 1831, Madagascar.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A medium-sized plated lizard (up to 14 in [36 cm]) with an elongate, slightly flattened body with a prominent lateral fold running the length of the flank. The long tail is almost twice as long as the body. The ground color is brown, with two yellow lateral stripes that run from the eye to the base of the tail. The color of the flanks is variable, but is usually mottled with white and dark scales. The belly is grayish white, but may be reddish on the throat in some areas.

DISTRIBUTION

More common in eastern Madagascar, but also known in the west and south and on some offshore islands. It has also been introduced to Aldabra.

HABITAT

Normally found in dry, open landscapes, they adapt well to field edges and secondary thickets.

BEHAVIOR

A solitary but common, terrestrial species that forages in sun-warmed clearings. It shelters in a small tunnel at the base of a bush, and may climb onto the base of trees.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

They are active foragers that eat a wide variety of insects, as well as fruits and berries.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

A small clutch (up to five) of large, elongate eggs are laid in moist soil.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Widespread and tolerant of agriculture, this species remains common throughout most of Madagascar.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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